In the realm of craft beer, El Segundo’s Grand Hill IPA emerges with a commendable visual appeal. The 16oz can, part of a $14 plus tax 4-pack, displays its freshness with a packaging date, less than two weeks old at the time of this review. The plastic wrap label, while environmentally considerate with a neat “unzip” feature, raises questions about recycling. Poured into a Rastal Harmony glass, the beer presents itself as brilliantly crystal clear, a pale golden elixir with a luscious cream-colored head that boasts tight bubbles and a glossy sheen from abundant hop oils.


The beer’s olfactory narrative unfolds with a sweet and dessert-like aroma, offering notes of pineapple slices, birthday cake, and maraschino cherries. As the temperature rises, the scent transitions to freshly baked bread and butterscotch, creating a complex aromatic profile.


Grand Hill IPA delivers an assertive punch of bitterness from a familiar hop lineup of Chinook, Centennial, and Amarillo. The bitterness is characterized by dark orange, ruby red grapefruit, Brazil nut, and sappy pine resin. Contrasting this bitterness is a dense, sweeter base that introduces flavors of whole wheat bread crust, pound cake, and crystalline white sugar, resulting in a well-balanced palate. The addition of just a touch of salt contributes to a pleasingly chewy body, and the absence of any noticeable alcohol bite is notable.


The beer showcases a soft mouthfeel that is rounded out by the subtle touch of salt. The medium-range ABV for the style ensures a smooth drinking experience. The finish is marked by lingering citrus rind bitterness and a build-up of resinous hops, culminating in an epic finale that leaves a lasting impression.


In the landscape of modern craft IPAs, El Segundo’s Grand Hill stands as a straightforward, classic contender. Eschewing trendy hop varieties and remaining strangely clear in a market dominated by hazy counterparts, Grand Hill proves to be flawlessly executed. It pays homage to the timeless combination of old-school American hops and 2-row pale malt, cementing its status as a modern classic. While not as popular as El Segundo’s flagship offerings, Grand Hill offers a worthy alternative to other top-tier clear IPAs in the market. For aficionados of clear IPAs, this one is not to be overlooked.


Grand Hill IPA navigates the realms of bitterness and sweetness with finesse, presenting a nuanced and well-crafted expression of the classic California IPA. Its deviation from current trends, flawless execution, and nod to traditional brewing make it a standout choice for those seeking a reliable and quality IPA in a market inundated with experimentation.